Public Universities are regulated in Organic Law 6/2001 on Universities (LOU) as amended by Organic Law 4/2007 (LOMLOU).
The teaching staff of public universities is divided into contracted teaching and research staff and civil servant teaching staff of the university teaching bodies.
- University teaching and research hired staff
Universities may hire teaching and research staff on an employment contract basis, through the specific employment contract modalities of the university environment or through the modalities provided for in the Workers' Statute. According to articles 47-55 of the LOU as amended by the LOMLOU, contracted workers are divided into:
- Assistants: universities may hire as assistant teachers those who have been admitted or are about to be admitted to Doctoral studies. The purpose of the contract is to complete their training. Assistants will collaborate in teaching tasks up to a maximum of 60 hours per year.
- PhD assistant lecturers: the contract will be signed with PhD holders. To be hired, they must be positively evaluated by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation or by the corresponding external evaluation body of the Autonomous Community. The purpose of the contract is to carry out teaching and research tasks.
- Collaborating lecturers: Article 2 of Royal Decree 989/2008, which regulates the exceptional hiring of collaborating lecturers, establishes that universities may hire lecturers for certain degrees to cover special teaching needs.
- PhD Contract Professors: PhD holders positively evaluated by the ANECA or the relevant external evaluation body determined by the Autonomous Community. The purpose of the contract is to carry out teaching and research tasks, or primarily research activities.
- Associate lecturers: specialists who can prove that they carry out their professional activity outside the university academic sphere. The purpose of the contract is to carry out teaching tasks in which they contribute with their professional knowledge and experience.
- Visiting lecturers: lecturers of recognised prestige from other universities and research centres. The purpose of this temporary contract is to carry out teaching or research tasks.
- Emeritus lecturers: universities may appoint emeritus lecturers from among their retired lecturers who have provided outstanding services to the university.
At least 50% of the staff hired by private Spanish universities must hold the degree of Doctor. Within that 50 %, at least 60 % of PhD professors must have obtained a positive evaluation from the ANECA or the relevant external evaluation body of the Autonomous Community. These requirements are also applied to the private university institutions attached to private universities.
Universities organise competitive processes for access to university teaching positions.
- Civil servant teachers from university teaching bodies.
To join the civil servant teaching bodies you must hold a PhD degree and be accredited by the ANECA or the relevant external evaluation body determined by the Autonomous Community.
Universities organise competitive processes for access to university teaching positions, which are provided for in their budget expenditure.
The institutions where future university teachers receive their initial training are the universities or other units competent in terms of research. The institutions can be public or private.
The model of initial teacher training is a sequential one. Firstly, prospective university teachers receive general education on specific subjects both in the university degree (Bachelor's degree) and in the chosen Master's degree and, secondly, they acquire specific training in research (doctoral degree).
Civil servant university teaching staff shall belong to the teaching body of university senior professors or to the teaching body of university senior lecturers.
- Senior lecturers in Universities
Article 59 of the LOU, as amended by the LOMLOU, establishes that In order to be appointed as a senior professor, it is necessary to obtain national accreditation from a committee that examines the teaching and research merits of the candidates. Subsequently, those who obtain this accreditation may take part in the competitive processes for the positions in the teaching body organised by the universities, in accordance with the relevant legislation in force and the statutes of each university. Those who pass these competitive processes are appointed as senior professors by the Rector, following the proposal from a committee appointed by the Rector.
- Senior professors in Universities
According to article 60 as amended by the LOMLOU, to be a senior professor in a university, it is necessary to hold a Doctoral degree and the status of university senior lecturer.
Those who prove that they hold the status of Doctor with, at least, eight years of seniority and receive the positive assessment of their teaching and research activity are exempted from the requirement of belonging to the Body of senior lecturers of University.
senior professors of university schools can have access to this Body, provided that they have three years of service and hold a PhD and can submit an application for accreditation for this Body.
Non-university higher education
Article 2 of Royal Decree 1618/2011 determines that initial education for academic staff in Advanced Vocational Training, or Advanced Vocational Education in Arts and Design or Sports leading to the obtaining of the degree of Advanced Technician, is similar to the initial education for academic staff in Lower Compulsory Secondary Education, Bachillerato, Vocational Training and Specialised Education.